SINGAPORE: Dugong Pilipino SG, a migrant worker group in Singapore, successfully organized a blood donation drive at the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) Outram Park Blood Bank.
On Sunday (28 January), the group voluntarily hosted the event, bringing together its members, including first-time donors, to contribute to the local blood storage.
The event was organized in response to an urgent appeal by the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) last Thursday.
In a joint statement, both groups revealed that Singapore currently faces a critical shortage of Group O blood stocks, with reserves falling below a six-day supply.
Group O donors have been called to step forward and contribute over the next two weeks leading up to the Chinese New Year holiday on 10 and 11 February to replenish stocks to sustainable levels.
Significantly, various migrant workers’ groups have actively mobilized their members to participate in successful blood donation activities.
Earlier on 21 January, the Migrant Writers of Singapore, in collaboration with three other groups: In This Together – একসাথে একপথে, PIS NUR ASSYIFA and Dugong Pilipino SG, organized the 22nd Blood Donation Drive at the Blood Bank at HSA Outram Park.
Migrant worker describes blood donation as a “noble act”
In a video shared by the migrant worker group In This Together, Julie Ann Tabigne, a domestic worker from the Philippines and a team leader in the Migrant Writers of Singapore, expressed the joy of participating in her third blood donation.
She emphasized the satisfaction of being able to help others and save lives.
Ms Tabigne highlighted that the blood donation drive on 21 January was a collaborative effort organized by these groups every three months, with support from the blood donation community.
She stated that the group’s goal is to recruit more blood donors to expand their capacity to assist others.
Another Bangladesh worker, in the interview echoed the sentiment that blood donation is a noble act and encouraged others to participate.
This marked his fifth blood donation in Singapore, having previously made multiple donations in Bangladesh.
“I would like to donate blood as many times as I get the chance in the future, ” said the worker.
Critical shortage of Group O blood in Singapore sparks urgent call for donations
SRC and HSA earlier highlighted the unprecedented demand for Group O blood types, citing a surge in usage coupled with a lower-than-normal turnout of blood donors since the onset of 2024.
Group O blood, the universal blood group, is crucial for emergencies when patients’ blood groups are unknown. Moreover, almost half of all patients in Singapore possess Group O blood and can only receive blood from the same group.
The ramifications of the dwindling blood stocks are severe. SRC and HSA cautioned that further depletion could lead to the postponement of elective surgeries and compromise life-saving transfusions.
They emphasized that a nine-day stockpile, at a minimum, is required to address emergencies adequately. Ideally, a 12-day stockpile is considered healthy, according to SRC.
Singapore relies solely on blood donations to maintain its blood stocks, a fact underscored by SRC and HSA.
However, they noted that blood collection typically drops by as much as 20 per cent during festive seasons like Chinese New Year. This decline exacerbates the existing shortage, posing a significant challenge to healthcare providers.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung had previously observed an uptick in blood usage in the preceding months as hospitals sought to address postponed elective surgeries and treatments resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The surge in demand underscores the critical need for replenishing blood stocks.
Eligible donors aged between 16 and 60 with O+ and O- blood types are urged to come forward and donate, provided they meet the minimum weight requirement of 45kg.
SRC and HSA also advised potential donors to contribute before travelling, as certain destinations may render them ineligible due to insect-borne infection risks.
Blood banks located in Dhoby Ghaut, Jurong, Outram, Punggol, and Woodlands are open for donors to facilitate donations.
Community and corporate groups are encouraged to coordinate group donations by contacting SRC directly.
Additionally, on 9 February, the eve of Chinese New Year, all blood banks will be operational for whole blood donations until 2 pm, with the last appointment for apheresis donation at Bloodbank@HSA scheduled for 12.15 pm.
However, blood banks will remain closed on 10 and 11 February, with operations resuming on 12 February for select facilities and 13 February for Bloodbank@HSA.
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